If you own a phone, you’re likely all too familiar with calls about your car’s extended warranty. These calls continue to come because, unfortunately, they work. A small percentage of people agree to sign up for a new “extended warranty” or provide personal information that the telemarketers can sell or use for other unsavory practices.
Generally, only the manufacturer or seller of a product offers a warranty on it. Robocallers’ recorded messages might imply that they’re calling on behalf of your car’s manufacturer or dealer, but they almost certainly are not.
Are Car Warranty Calls Scams?
Many of the calls about your car’s warranty are scams. Since 2017, car warranty robocalls have returned and in greater numbers than ever before. They’ve outpaced calls asking for your social security number and those offering tech support, the two next most common scam calls.
If you’re ever unsure whether calls you receive about your car’s warranty are a scam, hang up the phone. Then look up the phone number for your dealership or service company and call them directly. Doing so ensures that you’re speaking with the appropriate company and not scammers phishing for your information.
Robocalls about car warranties were popularized by the now-bankrupt company, US Fidelis. In a period of 10 months stretching from 2008-2009, the company made over a billion such calls. As a result, the company was prohibited from making robocalls altogether. And in 2012, the brothers responsible for the calls were locked up for a variety of crimes ranging from fraud to tax evasion.
How to Stop Car Warranty Calls
- Do Not Engage
The best way to stop car warranty calls is simply not engaging with them. Any engagement, even requesting the caller to remove you from their call list, lets the caller know that your phone number is active. And this could actually increase the number of calls you receive.
- Only Answer Familiar Numbers
Always check your caller ID before picking up the phone. If you don’t recognize the number, let it go to voicemail. If it’s important, they’ll leave a voicemail.
And just because the incoming call shares an area code with your number, doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. It’s common for robocallers to “spoof” phone numbers. This makes your caller ID display a number that has no relation to the actual number from which the phone call originated.
- Report Telemarketers and Scam Calls
Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry at DoNotCall.gov. Although telemarketers are legally prohibited from calling numbers on this list, many ignore such regulations. However, you can and should report these callers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Likewise, report scam calls by filing a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Extended Warranties and Lemon Vehicles
As mentioned above, generally only the manufacturer or seller of a product can provide customers with a warranty. Most consumer goods come with at least a one-year warranty. Vehicle warranties are often longer, typically lasting anywhere from three to ten years. Lemon laws protect consumers from defects covered by these warranties.
When you purchase a vehicle, the dealer will likely try to sell you an extended warranty or service contract. Such offers might bolster the coverage of the standard warranty, covering maintenance costs and/or extending the manufacturer’s warranty for a set period of time. In some cases, these add-ons aren’t worth the cost. They’re often overly priced to ensure the dealer profits, not to help consumers. But, you can typically negotiate the price of an extended warranty or service contract to make it more affordable. Please also note that if you sell your vehicle and there is some remaining coverage on the extended warranty or service contract that you are entitled to a pro-rata refund for what you did not use.
Additionally, most lemon laws apply strictly to the original manufacturer’s warranty. So if the dealer fails to repair a defect that never occurred during the original factory warranty, you may have no recourse for action under the majority of state or federal lemon laws. If the defect occurred even once during the factory warranty, federal lemon laws may provide you protection.
However, extended warranties are still legally binding contracts. And an experienced lemon law attorney like those at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® will know which statutes to use to get you the settlement you deserve.